The Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) has exuded confidence that it is set to host this year's Kenya Open Golf Championship, with final preparations in top gear in readiness for Eastern Africa's biggest golf tournament.
The Kenya Open, which this year will be held at the Karen Country Club from the 14th to the 17th of March, will be joining the prestigious European Tour in a move that will significantly raise the profile of the tournament while enhancing Kenya's golf tourism proposition.
Speaking during a course inspection by European Tour officials at the Karen Country Club today, KOGL Chairman, Peter Kanyago, said that the board is pleased with the progress it has made in preparing for this year's tournament and that it is looking forward to host East Africa's biggest golf tournament.
"We are pleased with the progress which we have made to prepare for his year's Kenya Open whose preparations are currently in top gear. The course is in excellent condition, and from our assessment, it is actually ready for play as we speak. Together with the Karen Country Club, we continue to improve the it in readiness for the tournament," he said.
He added that the Board is now in the final stages of finalizing sponsorship deals with partners with official communication on the same expected to be made next week.
"We shall be announcing our sponsorship details next week but, largely, we have finalized on our sponsorship engagements," he said.
Speaking about the changes to be expected at this year's Kenya Open, Kenya Open Golf Championship Tournament Director, Patrick Obath, said the Karen Country Club course layout will be re-arranged to accommodate the demands of the tournament from both a players' and spectators' perspective.
"The key change that is going to be there at the Kenya Open is that the course at Karen is going to be played in a different way to allow more room for spectators movement as well as the sitting infrastructure that is going to be set up. This means that Karen Country Club's current 13th hole will be the first tee. Players will then play the 14th through the 18th holes, then go back to the 10th, 11th and the 12th for the first nine. They will then cross over to the first tee and play it the normal way. This means that the first nine will effectively become the back nine and vice versa," he said.
Other changes set to be made for this year's tournament include human flow improvement, with players and spectators having to go through the village before accessing the rest of the club.
"We have done quite a lot of work to prepare for this year's tournament, including having the European Tour agronomist coming over to ensure that the course is at par with European Tour standards. We are therefore confident that we are ready to hold the tournament," he added.
Commenting on the same, European Tour Tournament Director, Paul Carrigill, said that he was satisfied with the preparations that the Kenya Open Golf Limited has embarked on in preparation for this year's tournament.
"The Kenya Open Golf Limited has improved the tournament over the last five or six years markedly, and now we have raised our level to the main tour of the European Tour so we will have better players playing. We have had a change of venue this year coming to the Karen Country Club and the course is in wonderful condition already, so everything is progressing well," he said.
Paul added that with the tournament's new status, the Kenya Open will have live broadcast which will significantly profile the tournament, and the country, on a global platform.
"We have national and international television this year live on all the four tournament days and that will make a massive difference and a great advert for Kenya. Kenya will be seen on the TV screen and the beautiful scenes here at the Karen Country Club will be passed around the world for everyone to see with the tournament being watched across the world by millions of viewers," he said.
Total prize money for this year's tournament will be Euros 1.1 Million; a move expected to attract the interest of top golfers from around the world.